The comment was made by Mahmoud al-Zahar, the leader of the Hamas bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on Sunday.


Al-Zahar was responding to the criticism by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's second-in-command, who blasted Hamas for taking part in the elections alongside those he called "seculars".


Al-Zahar said that Hamas' programme qualified it to lead the Palestinian people. 


"We are a movement that neither brands other Muslims as infidels, nor abandons them. We are a movement that lives with the people in a real world and try to attract them to Islam through wisdom and good advice.


Moderate approach


"We call for following God's path with an open mind," al-Zahar said.
"By adopting this moderate approach, which is initiated by the prophet (Muhammad), Hamas movement has succeeded in attracting voters to its programme of Islam.
"When Hamas went to parliament, the people who had voted for it were convinced that Islam would help solve their economic, social and political problems along with managing their battles against the [Israeli] occupation," al-Zahar added.


In a video aired by Aljazeera on Saturday, al-Zawahiri had said: "Reaching power is not a goal by itself ... and no Palestinian has the right to give away a grain of the soil."
He also lashed out at Hamas for its statements about accepting previous agreements signed with Israel, describing them as "surrender accords" that should be recanted.